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A hernia is a condition in which part of an organ protrudes through a weak wall in the body cavity, or protrudes through an opening which formerly existed in an adjacent organ. This does not necessarily involve a rupture or a tear. Common forms of hernias are inguinal, incision, umbilical and hiatal.

Inguinal hernia, the most common form of hernia, occurs in the groin. It can be due to a congenital disorder or it can be caused by improper lifting of heavy objects. Surgery is usually necessary to fix the condition.

An incision hernia results from weakening of the abdominal wall due to surgery.

An umbilical hernia occurs in infancy and is often self-healing.

A hiatal hernia (also called an esophageal hernia) is a protrusion of the stomach above the diaphragm through its hiatus. This condition involves three different organs. Normally, the stomach remains anchored to the abdomen and is prevented from ascending into the chest since the muscular structure around the esophageal hiatus of the diaphragm fits tightly. The stomach will ascend into the chest if the hiatus is too wide. A diaphragmatic hernia differs from a hiatal hernia in that the defect does not involve the esophageal hiatus.

Treatment involves eating small quantities at one meal, eating slowly, chewing thoroughly, losing weight and avoiding the use of restrictive clothing.


Congenital defect
Any pressure against the stomach

Signs & Symptoms

Most individuals with hiatal hernia have few symptoms other than heartburn and are diagnosed through X-ray examination.

Heartburn is a burning sensation which starts below the breast bone and ascends into the neck; this can occur when the reflux of acidic juices is facilitated or aggravated due to such things as fatty, spicy meals, bending over or lying down.

Reflux of acidic stomach contents all the way to the mouth
Chest pain
Breathing difficulties
In congenital cases, the infant may spit up milk with blood

Nutritional Supplements

General Supplements

Betaine HCl5 - 10 g n/a
Pancreatin 5 NF n/a

Note: All amounts are in addition to those supplements having a Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA). Due to individual needs, one must always be aware of a possible undetermined effect when taking nutritional supplements. If any disturbances from the use of a particular supplement should occur, stop its use immediately and seek the care of a qualified health care professional.

Dietary Considerations

Not all medical professionals believe that nutritional management of hiatal hernia is helpful. Some nutritional professionals have advised the individual be placed on a Weight Reduction Diet, obesity being a common underlying factor for the development of hiatal hernia. If the individual has symptoms of acute gastric disturbance, the diet should stress bland foods. Meals, moreover, should be small and frequent. The evening meal especially should be small, to prevent nocturnal symptoms of indigestion.

The diet should include foods that are easily digested and not prone to cause gastric distress such as:

AvocadoGrapefruit (w/o skin)
Cooked fruitsMilk and milk products
Cooked vegetablesOrange (w/o skin)
Decaffeinated coffee and tea - blackPeanut butter

Foods to be omitted are:

Black pepperChili pepper
Caffeinated drinksFried and highly seasoned foods

Reflux of food into the esophagus may be avoided by sitting upright while eating and sleeping with the upper part of the body elevated.

Homeopathic Remedy

1. Lycopodium Clavatum - 30C, long term a right sided remedy
2. Nux vomica - 30C best for strangulations

Treatment Schedule

Doses cited are to be administered on a 3X daily schedule, unless otherwise indicated. Dose usually continued for 2 weeks. Liquid preparations usually use 8-10 drops per dose. Solid preps are usually 3 pellets per dose. Children use 1/2 dose.


X = 1 to 10 dilution - weak (triturition)
C = 1 to 100 dilution - weak (potency)
M = 1 to 1 million dilution (very strong)
X or C underlined means it is most useful potency

Asterisk (*) = Primary remedy. Means most necessary remedy. There may be more than one remedy - if so, use all of them.


Boericke, D.E., 1988. Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Coulter, C.R., 1986. Portraits of Homeopathic Medicines.

Kent, J.T., 1989. Repertory of the Homeopathic Materia Medica.

Koehler, G., 1989. Handbook of Homeopathy.

Shingale, J.N., 1992. Bedside Prescriber.

Smith, Trevor, 1989. Homeopathic Medicine.

Ullman, Dana, 1991. The One Minute (or so) Healer.

Herbal Approaches


Hiatal hernia

Aloe vera plant
Slippery elm bark

Note: The misdirected use of an herb can produce severely adverse effects, especially in combination with prescription drugs. This Herbal information is for educational purposes and is not intended as a replacement for medical advice.


Slippery elm bark or marshmallow soothes inflamed tissue.

So far as an hiatal hernia is concerned, it may be irritated by ingredients of a number of herbs. A list of "irritant herbs" has been compiled. (After Newall]

AlfalfaIrritant, canavanine in seeds
ArnicaIrritant to mucous membranes
AsafetidaIrritant gum,
Blue FlagIrritant gum and oil
BogbeanIrritant to GI tract
BoldoIrritant oil
BuchuIrritant oil
CapsicumCapsaicinoids, mucosal irritants
CassiaIrritant to mucous membranes, oil
CinnamonIrritant to mucous membranes, oil
Cohosh, BlueIrritant to mucous membranes;
spasmogenic in vitro
CowslipIrritant saponins
DroseraPlumbagin. irritant
EucalyptusIrritant Oil
False Unicorn Large doses may cause vomiting
FigwortPurgative effect
GarlicRaw clove
Ground Ivy Irritant oil
GuaiacumAvoid if inflammatory condition
Horse chestnutSaponins, contra-indicated in renal disease
Horse radishIrritant oil
HydrangeaHydrangin, possible gastro-enteritis
Jamaican DogwoodIrritant to humans
JuniperIrritant oil
Lemon VerbenaIrritant oil
Lime FlowerIrritant to kidney
NettleTea irritant to stomach
ParlseyIrritant oil
PennyroyalToxic & irritant oil
PilewortIrritant sap
Pleurisy RootGI irritant
PulsatillaIrritant to mucous membranes
Queen's DelightDiterpenes
Skunk CabbageInflammatory & blistering to skin


Newall CA, Anderson LA, Phillipson JD. Herbal Medicines: A Guide for Health-care Professionals. London: The Pharmaceutical Press, 1996.

Aromatherapy - Essential Oils

Basil Essence,Cypress Essence,
Ginger Essence,Hyssop Essence,
Lavender Essence,Rosemary Essence.

Related Health Conditions

Congenital defects



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